Trying something new

Most of my vintage projects have been from the 1950’s.  I’ve blogged about how I feel about WWII fashions.  They just don’t work for me.  However, in the last couple weeks, I’ve become obessed with 1930’s fashion.  The early 30s look to be quite similar to the previous decade, and therefore I can assume the look won’t work for.  The late 30’s look to be quite similar to the coming decade, but not quite as severe.  It might work for me.  I think, however, that the mid-30s typify the era and I have chosen a pattern.  This was an eye opening experience.

Shopping for mid-30s patterns has dispelled the “women were smaller back then” myth for me.  Shopping for 50’s pattern can leave the average to larger woman frustrated and disappointed.  Not so with 30’s patterns.  I have come across so many 30’s patterns in sizes to fit 38in and 40in bust, a modern 14-16 in RTW.  I’ve even run into a suprising amount of larger pattern.  My favorite pattern was a size 46!  I’ve never graded a pattern down from a too large size, so I’ve decided to pass it up.

The 1930’s pattern that I’ve chosen as my first project is Butterick 7836.  From what I’ve been able to find, Butterick is very hard to date, prior to the 1940’s.  From

1930’s Butterick number series appears to have started around the 4000 number and continued through 8900.  Since none of these patterns are dated, it is impossible to verify, but you can follow the sequence of styles through the years and get a rough estimate.  Butterick used many different logo placements in this era so the logo is not a good indicator.  Style and length are better indications of the dates.

From the above, I’d say that Butterick 7839 is from somewhere between 1935-1937.  I’m not quite sure, though.

One of the reasons why I love 1950’s patterns is because they fit me with very little to no alterations.  The 50’s emphasize a classic hourglass figure, which is what I have.  Working on this 30’s pattern reminds me why I stopped using modern patterns.  They are drafted with less difference between waist and hips and a lot less room in the bust.  The picture below is of my third toile or muslin.  The first attempt was a straightforward grade up 2 sizes.  The second attempt added a 1/2in FBA.  The third attempt added an addition inch to the FBA, plus I added 1in in length to the bodice front and back.  I think it’s finally ready.  The fashion fabric is a dark purple rayon gabardine that is quite soft and has a lovely drape.


About andreahg

I'm a stay-at-home wife and mom to two boys, a cat and two rough collies. I love to sew and knit with vintage patterns, primarly from the WWII era.
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4 Responses to Trying something new

  1. Janel says:

    I’m very interested to see this worked up! Actually, I like it in the gingham. 🙂

  2. andreahg says:

    I like it in the gingham, too, but making 3 bodices from it wiped out the yardage. I might get more for a summer dress.

  3. Inky says:

    Andrea, I can’t tell you how helpful all this information is that you post with your trial and errors and adventures with vintage patterns. I’ve been wary of 30’s styles because of my figure as well, so I am very interested to see how this progresses for you. I love the pattern!

  4. Roxanne says:

    I just found your site a couple of days ago and read from the beginning. You are amazing! I wish I could come and sit next to you and just absorb all your knowledge!

    My grandmother sewed ALL of her clothes and the clothes for her four daughters. She was born in 1905. She (for some reason?) didn’t teach my mother how to sew. My mom and I learned to sew from going to classes in the 70s. Everything was about the synthetic stretchy stuff LOL!

    I have no idea how to size up patterns (I think we’re the same size). Could you give a tutorial on how to do that? I also never realized that REAL seamstresses make muslins of the pattern until they get their right fit. I just jumped in and hoped it WOULD fit (and, of course, it didn’t).

    Looking forward to gleaning more wonderful information from you.


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